A trade deficit occurs when our exports to other countries for goods and services are less than our imports from other countries.
Donald Trump’s campaign promise in 2016 was to reduce our trade imbalance drastically by pulling out of trade deals and renegotiating them.
Unfortunately, the trade deficits increased during Trump’s first three years (pre-pandemic) compared to 2016, both in the percentage of exports-to-imports and in total dollars. The U.S. has fared worse than during the previous administration, despite (and/or due to) Trump’s trade wars and new trade agreements.
The pandemic in 2020 has highlighted how vulnerable the U.S. is in trade with the rest of the world and how the Trump administration did not put our nation in a position to weather this storm well. The export-to-import percentage for the period January through August 2020 was 61.9%, a significant blow for the U.S. The year 2020 is not over to do a full raw dollar comparison with other years, and trade is seasonal. We do know that August 2020 showed a monthly deficit for U.S. goods trade of $83.9 billion, the largest and worst ever recorded.
The last four years have been a lost opportunity for the United States regarding trade with other countries.